Everything Old Is New Again, Even in Gaming

09.20.18

In the last few years, the largest gaming companies in the world have been pulling on our heartstrings with remakes of classic games and and re-releases of beloved consoles, laying the foundation for a golden age of gaming nostalgia.

Just yesterday, Sony announced it will release a miniature version of the original PlayStation, called the PlayStation Classic. The $100 console is 45 percent smaller than the original, and will come with two replica controllers and be pre-loaded with 20 retro games, including “Final Fantasy VII,” “Ridge Racer Type 4,” and “Tekken 3.”

Naturally, social media users are a little more than excited.

The PlayStation Classic is just the latest mini retro-inspired console to hit the market.

Nintendo released the $60 NES Classic Edition and the $80 Super NES Classic Edition over the past year, with the original run of the NES Classic selling out nearly instantaneously. Both systems were met with an uproar of excitement from nostalgic Nintendo fans looking to relive their childhood gaming experiences.

More recently, Nintendo launched their new paid subscription service, which includes access to 20 classic Nintendo titles like “Super Mario Bros,” “The Legend of Zelda,” and “Ice Climber.”

But nostalgic gamers won’t have to buy retro mini-consoles or subscribe to new subscription services to experience many of their favorite old-school characters and franchises again. In fact, many of the biggest games announced and released this year have seriously nostalgic appeal.

Activision leaned heavily on the loyalty of old-school fans this year, by releasing updates to the Crash Bandicoot and Spyro series, and adding fan-favorite locations and weapons from old Call of Duty: Black Ops games into the franchise’s first battle royale mode: “Blackout.”

Meanwhile, the gang’s all here for the new Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (out in December), God of War Kratos returned from relative obscurity with his son in tow, and Fox McCloud is slated to make a cameo in Ubisoft’s new title, “Starlink: Battle for Atlas” (October 31st).

Perhaps most surprisingly, The Tetris Effect — a psychedelic take on the most recognizable video game of all time — was announced by Enhance Games this summer for PlayStation 4 and PS4 VR.

The last few years have been dubbed the “Reboot Era” by many film fanatics and critics alike, thanks to many recent superhero movies, the continuation of the Star Wars cinematic timeline, and other resurrections of classic stories like Jurassic Park, Ghostbusters, and Jumanji.

And yet, no one seems to make a big deal that the same nostalgia-baiting has taken over the gaming space.

It’s difficult to say why this trend has taken effect so quickly. It’s likely that the largest gaming companies realize huge portions of their audiences are simply growing up, and the old-school games are their best effort to hold onto those customers (and their money) into adulthood.

Whatever the reason, I would be remiss to pretend the nostalgia-baiting isn’t working. More than a few times this year, I’ve found myself feeling all warm and fuzzy inside when I saw an announcement for some kind of reboot…sometimes for a game that I didn’t even play as a kid.

Like most things, this trend can’t last forever. There are only so many titles to reboot, and so many memorable characters to bring back. Plus, the games industry has been rebooting, re-making and remastering old titles since its inception, and that tradition will undoubtedly continue long after the Reboot Era is over.

In the meantime, however: Keep the nostalgic games and systems coming, games industry! We love them!

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